Frank B. Giles (Big Frank) passed away peacefully at the age of 90 on April 10, 2020, surrounded by loving family. He was born in Villa Rica, GA, in 1930. He is preceeded in death by his father William “Henry” Giles and mother Winnie Sewell Giles, brother Billy Giles and sister Dorthy (Dot) Giles Edes. He is survived by his wife Betty Sue (Susie) Giles and four sons and their wives Don (Ramona), David (Teresa), Mike (Carla) and Frank (also know as Little Frank) and two grandchildren Jeremy (Zada) and Maggie and a great granddaughter, Harper.
Big Frank was the long-time co-owner and operator of the agribusiness Giles & Hodge Farm Center in Unadilla, GA. Many of those years, he ran the business with his brother Billy, with the help of their wives Susie and Joyce. Throughout his life, he was dedicated to his local community and took joy in writing poems about the many family and friends that lived and visited there. This poet laureate of Unadilla was loved and respected by many for his kind spirit and good humor.
On April 14, 2020, Big Frank and Susie would have celebrated 69 years of marriage. Their beautiful relationship started with the help of all things — a Coca-Cola. In 1948, at a drug store and soda fountain in Tifton, GA, while Big Frank was attending ABAC, he caught Susie’s eye. On a dare from friends, she “accidentally” spilled that Coca-Cola down the back of his shirt. That certainly got his attention and so began a beautiful love story.
After transferring to Athens and graduating from the University of Georgia in 1950, Big Frank taught veterans courses in Nicholls, GA. He was later drafted into the Army and stationed in Columbia, SC. Big Frank and Susie married during this time and Don was born in 1952. Three more boys followed. David, Mike, and Little Frank, bringing up the rear some 20 years later in 1972. Their relationship served as a model of love and devotion to aspire. Big Frank was proud of his boys. Anytime one of the sons would achieve some good work or milestone worthy of praise, he’d always say, “And, I’ve got three more just like him.”
In 1953, Big Frank and Susie moved to Sugar Hill in northern Dooly County just outside of Unadilla. There, Big Frank restored an old, Civil War-era farmhouse. Much of the craftsmanship on the home was done by his hand. He was a skilled and avid carpenter (if not somewhat unorthodox at times). He took an old bread truck and converted it into an RV. The tin from a Butler Bin was used to build the family’s first swimming pool. And, an old house boat was transformed into a cabin on the shores of Lake Blackshear. All of those brought the family years of entertainment and taught that a little ingenuity and hard work could turn almost anything into something useful.
Most of his working years were dedicated to Giles & Hodge Farm Center, which operated from the early 1950s until 1998 when the business closed. The agribusiness served the area’s farming community and was a favorite gathering point for locals who often sat out front of the business on old wooden benches and talked about issues of the day and told and retold old-time stories that grew larger with each telling. In 1995, Big Frank renovated the home once again, and he and Susie opened and operated Sugar Hill Bed and Breakfast for 20 years, making many new friends along the way.
It was fitting that he passed in the home he put so much into and loved so very much. His faith in God was strong, and the family is grateful that he is in a much grander home now, surrounded by family and friends who preceeded him. We also expect there’s probably a poem to be written up there, and as grand as it is, a handyman project or two that needs attending.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Unadilla for many years. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the First Baptist Church of Unadilla, 911 Cherry Street, Unadilla, Georgia 31091, Pruitt Health Hospice, 708 East 16th Avenue, Cordele, Georgia 31015 (PruittCares.org) or the charity of your choice.
The family also would like to extend a special thanks to Nelda Harrell and the caregivers from Pruitt Health Hospice for all their help and encouragement in Big Frank’s time of need.
A graveside service for immediate family only will be held at 3 PM Monday, April 13 in Walnut Cemetery with Rev. Keith Rustin officiating. The service will be live-streamed on the funeral home Facebook page.
The family will host a drive-thru visitation 5 - 7 PM Monday, April 13 at their residence, 2540 Sugar Hill Road. Please enter the driveway from Ransom Road. You will be able to register, receive a memorial folder from the service and acknowledge the family from your vehicle before exiting onto Sugar Hill Road.
Brannen-NeSmith Funeral Home of Unadilla has charge of arrangements.
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